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Indians pitch their way to the White House

other Updated: May 27, 2010 01:01 IST
Anurag Singh

Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the high-ticket pitchers in the US baseball league, will have another colourful story to narrate when they come home next time.

Just about two years back, the two youngsters loafed around in their villages in Uttar Pradesh, trying to make some headway in javelin throwing. Then, they won a 'pitching' contest and that changed their world. They were flown to Los Angeles, where they trained with University of Southern California pitching coach, Tom House. Soon, they were inducted into a major baseball club, Pittsburgh Pirates, to become the first India-born athletes to sign a major baseball league contract.

The rag-to-riches story has just got more exciting as US President, Barack Obama, invited them as special guests during the White House's Heritage Month last Monday.

The duo, according to their agent JB Bernstein, were among 150 luminaries from Asia and Pacific Islands selected to attend the grand meeting with Obama.

"Rinku and Dinesh were invited to a reception at the White House yesterday and met President Obama…amazing!" wrote Bernstein in an email to Hindustan Times.

Both the pitchers were extremely happy on getting a chance to meet the US President and expressed their joy in their blogs.

"President Obama came to us, shook our hands, and said it's nice to meet you. He said he was mesmerised to see people representing Asia and America under one roof, making us proud. It’s a big honour…the once-in-lifetime meeting with the US President was unbelievable," they wrote.

Besides meeting Obama and the who's who of the US society, they also had a memorable meeting with DC United soccer team and members of AC Milan, including their Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho.

They have become so popular in the US that Sony Entertainment Pictures bought the rights to their stories last year to make a Hollywood movie based on their remarkable journey.